Breast Cancer Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). For ten years at Chabot College Nurse Practitioner Tricia Gonsman MSN, FNP. Has hosted the National Breast Cancer Awareness event. The event covers the topic of breast cancer. She educates students about breast cancer, chemotherapy, mammograms, and more.

Nurse Gonsman also works at the Student Health Center located in Building 2300. Nurse Gonsman stated, “I’ve been doing this for ten years. I want to educate people about breast cancer and how very serious it is. I do it to bring awareness, not everybody knows about the symptoms and signs of breast cancer. Both men and women get breast cancer.”

NBCAM was founded in 1985 in October as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and AstraZeneca (the producer of several drugs used for breast cancer treatment). In 1993 Evelyn Lauder founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and began using the pink ribbon as their symbol. In 1991 the Susan G Komen Foundation handed out the pink ribbons to the participants in the New York City race for Breast Cancer Survivors.

Rose-Marie Henderson a family member of mine and a breast cancer survivor described what it was like having breast cancer three times. She stated, “In 2006 I had a lump in my left Breast, and it was getting very painful. I went to get a mammogram then my doctor informed me that I had breast cancer. I had a biopsy and took chemotherapy. Because of the chemotherapy, I was sick, weak, and lost my hair. Then in 2013 it came back. The doctor told me my cancer had spread to my sternum bone (Breastbone). I took a chemotherapy capsule that cost over $10,000 for 21 tablets. I’ve been taking it for two years now, my cancer came back and spread to my thighs. It didn’t spread anymore, and now it’s stable.”

According to the Susan G Komen website “Women in the U.S. have a 12 percent lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. This means that for every 8 women in the U.S. 1 will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.”

Breast cancer is always caused by damage to a cell’s DNA. The risk factors are drinking alcohol, and having a family history of breast cancer.

The symptoms of breast cancer for women is a change in how the breast and or nipples feel. There are many breast cancer symptoms that go unnoticed. It is important to get a monthly breast exam, from your physician.

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